How can Earth Day prevent plastic pollution?

22 April 2024 by Acre
blog author

​This year’s Earth Day theme aims to advance sustainability and promote global public awareness about the detrimental effect plastic has on our planet.

“Planet vs Plastics” was devised for 2024’s international day (April 22) to engage businesses, governments, NGOs, communities, students and families in a worldwide commitment to build a plastic-free lifestyle for future generations.

The demand for a 60 per cent reduction in the production of plastics by 2040 can only be successful if ambitious targets are met. For this to happen, Earth Day’s goals include rapidly phasing out all single-use plastics by 2030 and reaching the same commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024.

The campaign also demands further tech innovation investment and urges policymakers to halt fast fashion and the plastic the industry (which produces over a billion garments) uses within the production process.

Additionally, Earth Day calls for more public awareness and research into the health implications caused by plastic to humans, animals and all biodiversity.

You might be wondering, how can I reduce my plastic consumption?

We have seen firm evidence of the hazardous effects plastic can cause, from plastic particles now found in the human body, seals and dolphins tangled in discarded fishing net and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (80,000 tons of floating garbage, 46 per cent of which is discarded fishing gear).

We are already aware that water is a scarce resource, with many countries plunging into droughts every year because of climate change, yet plastic production has a huge impact on this too.

According to data from the Pacific Institute, single-use water bottles have an enormous impact on the environment and not just because the product is often discarded after use in our streets, countryside and waterways.

Bottled water not only uses a lot of energy in its production but also utilises six times as much water as the bottle itself, according to Earth Day. So, when you consider the impact of using more water to produce a plastic bottle of water, it demonstrates why humans must change their behaviour and focus on solutions such as refill options.

Plastics break down into microplastics which leach toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and our bloodstream. Preventing the problem at source is more impactful than cleaning beaches and streets, but if everyone is on board with the campaign, every single action can help make a difference.

Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day, said: “The word ‘environment’ means what surrounds you. In the case of plastics, we have become the product itself – it flows through our blood stream, adheres to our internal organs, and carries with it heavy metals known to cause cancer and disease.

“Now this once-thought amazing and useful product has become something else and our health and that of all other living creatures hangs in the balance.

“The Planet vs. Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being upon our planet.”

To see how you can get involved and make a difference, not just on Earth Day, but every day, please click here to access the Earth Day website and click here to read our previous suggestions for supporting Earth Day.

To read our recent article about efforts to reduce plastics in the UK, please click here.